Posted by Chuck on January 19, 2016
Free money

Published on January 19th, 2016 | by Chuck

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Maximizing the Staples Software Deal for $100 Profit with Discover + Tax-Free

Staple Software Deal

We mentioned yesterday in the roundup post an idea from Miles Briefs to rack up some free Ultimate Rewards points by purchasing $400 worth of antivirus software and getting it all back in the form of a rebate. Basically, you can buy 10 of these downloadable software stuff for $400 and get $400 back in the form of a Visa prepaid card a few months down the road from Staples via Staples Easy Rebate. There is a limit 10 per household on the rebate.

No physical merchandise will be sent to you if you choose the downloadable version, saving you the hassle of having to deal with boxes and garbage – it’s just an email with a download link which you can ignore and still get the $400 back from the Staples Easy Rebate. And the rebate can be submitted online.

How it Stacks Up

To get a real deal here, we’re stacking a few different things:

  • The credit card rewards – $400 at 5x per dollar with INK yields 2,000 points
  • For online orders: 5% back from the portal ($20) or 6x United miles per dollar  (2400 miles) – this should come through hopefully
  • 2% – 5% back in Staples rewards, depending which tier you are at; for in-store purchases you can instead get 25% back in Staples rewards with a special coupon currently available

Looking at it strictly from a cash perspective, I take it as a profit of $32, using the online route:

  • $20 from INK
  • $20 from the portal
  • Cost of $8 since that’s your opportunity cost when you use up the $400 Visa prepaid card in place of using a 2% card (these prepaid cards don’t seem to be unloadable with a PIN)
  • Net: $32

Maximizing the Deal with Discover

The INK bonus points were considered a primary factor in this deal. Yet a better way to do this deal, in my opinion, is to use Staples gift cards instead of INK. It wouldn’t be worth it buying Staples gift cards on the exchanges, but you can buy Staples gift cards at 20% off using your Discover cashback. Most of us should have a high balance with Discover and using $320 in Discover cashback will yield $400 in Staples gift cards. The gift cards are issued instantly.

Discover only offers $25 denominations at the cost of $20. Staples has a max of 5 gift cards that can be applied per purchase. I bought three software for $120 and used five $25 gift cards. Then bought another 3 with another five gift cards. Then another 3 with another five gift cards. Then I bought one final $40 software and applied one $25 gift card and the $5 balances from the gift cards used previously. Perfect.

The new math is this:

  • $80 profit via Discover
  • $20 from the portal
  • $8 opportunity cost

Nice! A $92 profit from your pajamas.

You can also try doing the 25% store rewards method stacked with the $80 Discover profit by going into a Staples store with the coupon and twelve $25 Staples gift cards. In-store would yield a fantastic return, but I stuck to the pj’s method, and I’ll be happy if the $92 profit comes through easily.

Save the Sales Tax with New Hampshire

Many pointed out that the sales tax kills the deal. After factoring in the tax, the profits go down a lot. However, if you choose the downloadable version of the software, you can simply have the item shipped to a location in New Hampshire and save the sales tax. Nothing is actually sent anyway, so it doesn’t make a difference where you have it shipped.

I googled a random hotel in New Hampshire and had it sent there. I didn’t have any moral issues with this – seems to make sense that you get to choose the shipping address – but I’m not a tax expert and can’t comment on the official rules for this.

Dealing with the Rebate

Pretty good deal overall. I usually don’t bother with software rebates since there are all kinds of rules that I don’t want to deal with. Also, you have to physically mail in the receipts and stuff – too much for me. However, in this case, it’s a Staples Easy Rebate which I’m very familiar with and is truly very easy to do – all online.

Note that in the comments on Frequentmiler it’s being reported that after submitting the rebate form from an online purchase, it doesn’t work automatically and requires manual input to push it through. If it’s not showing as processing, wait three days and have a chat with Staples to have them push it through.

I’ve never done this before, but it sounds like chat works easily to rectify the problem, and I relied on this method with the expectations that the rebate will come through.

Also, keep note of the zip code you had the downloads ‘shipped’ to in case you need it for the rebate.



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Andrew
Andrew

With the serve aftermath, the thought of liquidating 10 visa gift cards just sounds so painful.

Lantean
Lantean

if you buy all 10 in one transaction you will only get one ~$400 Visa reward card. that makes it somewhat easier. you can use it wherever you don’t get bonuses spend.
similarly, DoC made four transactions to max out the limit of 10 so he will get four Visa reward cards.

XP1
XP1

Serve aftermath is irrelevant. Staples rebate cards do not have a PIN and cannot be loaded into Serve.

All you have to do is request a check after you get your Staples rebate card.

anthonyjh21
anthonyjh21

Where did you find information regarding the ability to request a check? After a keyword search of this post and a quick Google search I found nothing regarding that ability. TIA

sheila
sheila

I’ll very cautious about doing of a large quantity of software. If the rebates were denied, there will be so much headache.

John
John

Thanks for this thought! I decided to just order actual software since the return policy is pretty easy… as long as they still sell it they will take it back. Fingers crossed they still sell it until the rebate is accepted.

John
John

Staples is screwing me around saying rebate is invalid on 10 purchased.

So returning software to store today.

Proceed with caution on this.

dan
dan

staples rebate VGCs are pinless,correct? any tips on how to quickly liquidate these multiple VGCs?

John
John

I buy my gas at Costco. Often flip Amex gift cards I get for free to Costco cash cards. Will do the same with staples VGC. If you use Costco gas their cash cards are great. You don’t need to swipe member card / swipe payment. Just a fast swipe payment, no member card needed.

buruch
buruch

I liquidate staples rebate vgc by reloading my amazon balance.

asar

I ordered yesterday and my order was canceled citing lack of inventory. If this happened with staples GC, I would be sitting on $400 of useless Staples GC. Just something to be aware of.

alex
alex

thank you so much!
i would be screwed trying to liquidate those staples gc.

DJ
DJ

Instead of shipping it to a hotel, I chose a store pickup in CA. CA doesn’t charge tax for software either. This seemed less phony to me

Feo
Feo

Yup, ordered yesterday AM and they cancelled my order in the evening citing being OOS

Dima
Dima

Did you purchase software for download or actual boxes to be delivered?

fauxblogger

@asar Staples prepaid cards can be converted to a check after receiving the prepaid cards from Staples. Alternatively, by using the manual print-out/mail forms, you can request a Staples GC which is better than Staples Prepaid at staples.com for those who don’t want to wait the extra 7-10 days to convert Prepaids to check.

@Lantean, I ordered in batches of 10 for my cloned households, and each individual unit required its own system-generated rebate tracking number. Staples Rebate Center systems extract the data from Staples Sales audit system so that each rebate tracking number corresponds the the specific unit for that rebate-eligible SKU in the SKU_Rebate table. This is how a single 1x $35 rebate on a 10x qty purchase (check your transaction receipt) can be linked to the actual quantity purchased. Am not aware of any Staples system that will combine rebate tracking numbers into a single Prepaid card, but please respond if Staples Rebate Center has confirmed this.

alex
alex

what are you talking about?

@asar said that software is oos. so if he got staples gc from discover, he would have 400 in staples gc that he has no use for. staples prepaid VISA can be converted to check(with a fee) BUT not the staples gc.

also, you are saying that “staples gc” is better than “staples prepaid”????
how is that possible if “staples prepaid” is visa that can be used anywhere????

fauxblogger

Although the United Card portal bonus no longer in effect as of 1/20, this SKU was OOS stock only briefly yesterday, so little risk in purchase of Staples GC. Haven’t checked today’s in-stock position. FARs come around several times per quarter so little forward risk also.

Yes, as I stated when purchasing items on staples.com, staples GC more valuable than staples prepaid due to staples.com restricting prepaids to 1 per transaction.

Lantean
Lantean

I don’t really understand your question so I am not certain what to respond. I already explained everything in my post responding to Andrew.

DavidNJ
DavidNJ

Bought 4 in-store on Monday and ordered 6 via kiosk. Received the 6 today … fast. Thought about selling but would only net a few $’s each. I’ll donate to charity.

dave
dave

Just a correction, you receive 25% back in rewards total, not 25% +2%/5%.

MilesMath
MilesMath

If you set your shipping address to NH, does that mess up the rebate application. Are they sending the rebate to your shipping address or your mailing address?

csdx
csdx

I “shipped” software to NH all the time back when this deal was more common with Staples, and never had an issue. On the easy rebate site you specify where you want the rebate sent. Just remember what zip code you used as it asks for that when entering in the order information for the rebate.

jay
jay

how many gift cards can you use at in-kiosk in store? Is it still limited like online system? Want to see if I can get this deal in store. I am hoping download version is still available tomorrow and I can use NH address at that time.

Max
Max

Hi DOC readers

How can one covert stales rebates visa card to check with a fee ? where do i select the option to get the check once i get my visa card in the mail ?

fauxblogger

I converted 2 $50 prepaids to $100 check on 1/17/16. Not sure if this is stated benefit, but ask nicely and don’t abuse please

William Charles

Did you have to pay a $2.50 fee? If so, was it once or per card?

Susan

I was able to use up $400 Staples gift cards that I got in November when you posted the $185 for $200 Staples GC deal on eBay! Also used the United shopping portal that earns 6x miles. I also had a $5 Staples Rewards credit that I didn’t know I had.

Very nice!

Now I’m going to sell the software for $5-10 a piece when I get them. 🙂

jay
jay

so I just decided to do it your style – in pajamas 🙂

I am guessing we will have to submit 4 rebates now and get 4 different prepaid cards or will they be smart enough to combine all 4 rebates in one card.

I usually wait 48 hours to submit rebates at staples, never had to do chats or nothing. I will do the same for this offer.

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